Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

Russian Lawyers Have Not Right To Be Human Rights Activists

Posted by Info on 04/11/2009

The qualifications commission of the Moscow City Bar is threatening to strip Solidarity member Evgeny Arkhipov of his status as a lawyer, according to a November 3 press release from the Association of Russian Lawyers for Human Rights, as believes that lawyers have no right to engage in social activism. On this basis, the commission demand an initiation for disciplinary proceedings against Arkhipov.

In Arkhipov’s opinion, the attack is connected with his role as organizer for an October 10 rally opposing toll roads that the local population had voted down overwhelmingly. His membership in the opposition movement Solidarity also likely plays a role.

A combination of assassination attempts and increasing Kremlin control over the judicial system has created a hostile environment for Russian lawyers in recent years. In a high-profile case last January, Lawyer Stanislav Markelov was shot dead in broad daylight in Moscow.

Human rights activist Lev Ponomaryov was scathing of his indictment of Russian President Dmitri Medvedev’s silence on Markelov’s killing. “The president always talks about superiority of the law. A lawyer was killed carrying out his duties and the president, a lawyer himself, could not even find one word to say.”

Association of Russian Lawyers for Human Rights are aimed to protect human rights and freedoms without any kind of distinction, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. The Association defends actively human rights and freedoms at international bodies and presents its position at meetings of Council of Europe and European Union and other international organizations.

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